Royal Mail postmen to spy on your homes and to sell the data to NSA Google
Postmen ‘spy’ for address database: They will record position of every home and business in the country
Royal Mail could sell information to firms like Google
By Sean Poulter
PUBLISHED: 00:59, 18 July 2012 | UPDATED: 01:02, 18 July 2012
Postmen are being turned into hi-tech spies by the Royal Mail under a scheme that will see them record the position of every address in the country.
They will patrol streets using a satellite location device to capture the precise longitude, latitude and altitude of each home and business.
In future, the Royal Mail could sell the information to firms such as Google to improve mapping services.
In theory, car satnavs and smart phones would be able to guide users to the precise doorstep they are looking for and the police and other emergency services would be able to get to an address more quickly.
The plans will conjure concerns first triggered by Google with its controversial Street View service.
Cameras on Google cars captured sometimes intrusive images of homes and computers installed in the vehicles tapped into home and business wi-fi systems to collect personal information stored on computers.
Google is under investigation by the Information Commissioner over allegations that it covered up details of the collection of personal information.
By contrast, Royal Mail’s system does not capture images or personal information.
A trial in East Anglia was launched this week, with postmen being sent out with the hi-tech mapping devices which look like cameras or binoculars.
Royal Mail said the new technology offers an advance on the traditional system of postcodes, street names and house numbers.
The organisation sees the vast new database that will be created as a potential money-maker for them.
Royal Mail said: ‘With mail volumes in decline, it is important that Royal Mail continues to expand its range of trusted services.’
The scheme has the backing of postmen and the Communication Workers Union, which initially was worried about the public reaction.
A spokesman said: ‘We believe Royal Mail is the best organisation to capture and maintain address data – it should improve the existing delivery point database and enhance the postcode address file which is managed by Royal Mail.’